Agenda and minutes

Outbreak Control Engagement Board
Tuesday, 6th October, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Remote - To be held remotely via Zoom - View directions

Contact: Jane Garrard  Senior Governance Officer

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Mel Barrett

Nigel Cooke

Kate Meynell – Paul Winter attended as a substitute

Catherine Underwood – Terry Dafter attended as a substitute



Declarations of interests for agenda items 3 - 8




Public minutes pdf icon PDF 232 KB

To confirm the minutes of the public section of the meeting held on 22 September 2020


The Board approved the minutes of the public section of the meeting held on 6 October 2020 as an accurate record.


Nottingham's Outbreak Control Plan update


Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health, gave a presentation updating on the Outbreak Control Plan.  She highlighted the following information:


a)  In the last few days there has been a dramatic increase in the level of infections in the City and the City now has much higher rates of infection that many other areas in the country.  This is a great concern. 


b)  It appears that a lack of social distancing in indoor places and household mixing is driving the increase in infections.


c)  Nottingham is likely to be on the Government watchlist published later in the week and it is anticipated that further restrictions on who can mix and where will be put in place as a result. 


d)  While it is anticipated that further restrictions will be announced in a few days, citizens are asked to take action now to reduce risks of further spread.


e)  The virus is very present in our communities and there is no vaccine yet so it is very easy for the virus to spread.  Measures such as social distancing, wearing face coverings, hand washing and not mixing with other households and limiting social contact as much as possible are currently the best defence.


During subsequent discussion the following points were raised:


f)  The infection rate in the City has always been around the national average.  The virus has been spreading generally across the country but the increase in Nottingham has been much greater and faster than other areas. 


g)  Current measures to reduce transmission are clearly not sufficient and as a local authority there is a need to do everything possible to protect the most vulnerable.  It will be difficult.


h)  There are some concentrations of positive cases in particular areas but there has been an increase in positive cases across the whole City, and in County areas.


i)  Nationally the virus appears to be affecting younger adults most at the moment and they often display fewer symptoms.  Nottingham is a young city, especially with the two university populations and therefore, to some extent, the increase in cases in Nottingham was inevitable.


j)  It is apparent that some people haven’t been following the guidance and complying with restrictions, particularly in relation to household mixing indoors. 


k)  Communications need to be culturally appropriate and clear so that there aren’t mixed messages which confuse people.  Communication about measures that people can take is taking place now because locally we don’t want to wait when we already know what the issues are and every effort will be made to work towards what is expected nationally and without being conflicting.


l)  Previously the Council supported around 18,000 people who were shielding.  Under current guidance the shielding programme is paused.  The Council’s approach is ‘dormant’ but remains ready to stand up if required.  The position is constantly being reviewed.


m)  People travelling into the City for testing could have resulted in spread but it is unlikely to have been a major factor.  Testing numbers relate to place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.


Update from Environmental Health and Nottinghamshire Police on the night-time economy


Paul Winter, Nottinghamshire Police, gave an update on Police activity highlighting the following points:


a)  In the previous week there have been some issues on the tram relating to the 10pm closing of pubs and bars.  Additional tram services have been put in place and staff are encouraging social distancing. 


b)  People are starting to get used to the 10pm closures and the businesses in the City Centre have been compliant with earlier closing requirements.  The Police didn’t need to prompt any pubs in the City Centre to shut at the weekend.


c)  There were fewer parties reported last weekend compared to the previous weekend. On Friday evening/ Saturday morning there were 17 reported parties or gatherings and the number was similar on Saturday evening/ Sunday morning.  Students have been mentioned in fewer of these reports – 20% of reports related to students compared to approx. 70% previously.  On occasions when the Police have been called to attend an incident, there has been greater compliance than previously.


d)  Joint visits are being conducted by the Police and the Council’s Environmental Health Service to businesses where there have been suggestions of non-compliance with requirements. 


e)  Across the Force there is an increased focus on neighbourhood areas.  In the City Centre, officers are supporting shopping centres to encourage the wearing of face coverings and in the forthcoming week there will be a focus on tram passengers. 


f)  The Police constantly reflect on the approach to enforcement to ensure it is consistent.  Most people comply with work to engage them but the Police will enforce if necessary.


During subsequent discussion the following points were raised:


g)  Citizens are concerned about travelling on trams so a Police focus on that is welcome. 


Paul Dales, Safer Business, Food and Health and Safety Manager gave an update on activity by the Environmental Health Team highlighting the following information:


h)  The Team has engaged with representatives of the Licensed Trade as a way of communicating messages to its members. 


i)  There have been some recent issues with some take away premises. Two premises have received Fixed Penalty Notices.


j)   There have been some issues with some close contact services, particularly in relation to compliance on face coverings.  Joint visits are being carried out with the Police.


Incident Management Plans

a)  Universities

b)  Care homes


Nigel Wright, Nottingham Trent University, and Jason Carter, University of Nottingham, gave an update on development on the Incident Management Plan for Higher Education.  They highlighted the following information:


a)  The universities worked to establish procedures and ensure a Covid-safe environment prior to the return of the majority of students in September.


b)  The universities have worked with the Council’s Public Health Team to develop the Incident Management Plan.  


c)  Each university has its own internal systems for monitoring the latest situation and gathering intelligence to enable it to response quickly and enforce isolation protocols. 


d)  Communications have been taking place with students and staff prior to the return of students in September so that they knew what to expect. 


e)  Some staff were apprehensive about the return of students but have generally been pleased with the measures in place. 


f)  The Police reports of fewer incidents related to students is positive.  There have been some incidents of inappropriate behaviour across both universities.  Where there is evidence, disciplinary action is taken.  The reoffending rate is approx. 5% so the approach seems to be working.


g)  The number of students reporting that they are self-isolating is as expected. 


h)  The universities are trying to enhance testing arrangements with testing on campus.  Local Testing Sites are being located on university campuses that will be accessible by both students and local citizens.  Within the next couple of weeks asymptomatic testing should be in place. 


During subsequent discussion the following points were raised:


i)  At Nottingham Trent University, students are asked to fill in an online form if they need to self-isolate to identify their support needs, including any issues related to mental health.  The University keeps in touch with students to see if their needs change. 


j)  Universities have arrangements in place to deliver blended learning and have the capabilities to deliver more online learning quickly if necessary.  There is planning in place for anything between 0 and 100% online learning.  Ideally there will be some face to face learning as this is generally better for students. 


k)  Whenever students start university, information, including health information, about them is collected to identify any specific needs.  This will be even more important this year.




(1)  Board members to review the Incident Management Plan for Higher Education and confirm approval to Marie Cann-Livingstone by email

(all Board members)


Fiona Branton, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, gave an update on the development of the Incident Management Plan for Care Homes.  She highlighted the following information:


l)  The aim of the Plan is to ensure timely identification, and effective management of outbreaks.


m)  The Infection Prevention and Control Team has been supporting care homes on infection control issues for many years and effective arrangements are already in place.  The Team is used to managing outbreaks in care home settings.


n)  There has been further learning on issues specific to the Covid-19 pandemic, including symptoms that are particularly indicative of potential Covid-19 in older citizens.  Based  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.


Christmas event preparations


Nigel Hawkins, Head of Culture and Libraries, and Patrick Loy, Head of Events, gave an update on preparations for Christmas events.  They highlighted the following information:


a)  Work is taking place on how events can be managed safely to give citizens a sense of normality but without risks to safety.


b)  During the pandemic, the City has been staging limited events in line with guidance issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Event Industry Forum. 


c)  Discussions with a number of interested groups about Winter Wonderland are ongoing and there is a need to decide soon whether it will proceed or not.  All of the associated activities are currently permitted and operational plans are being developed, for example for a smaller ice skating rink with a longer skating path and timed tickets to allow for additional cleaning; and there are plans for a revised layout.  However, there is concern about the scale of the event.


d)  There will be a Christmas lights trail in Wollaton Hall gardens with timed tickets and events are planned for Newstead Abbey, which is currently open as normal.


e)  There are usually 8-10 tree lighting events across the City, normally led by local communities.  Given the current strength of community and neighbourhood feeling it would be good to see these go ahead and the Council’s Events Team has offered support in organising these events.


During subsequent discussion the following points were raised:


f)  There can’t be mixed messages.  If it isn’t safe, then the Council should not be encouraging people to come together.  Community Christmas trees can be put up without an event at which people congregate.


g)  2020 has been a hard time for people and it would be good to have times of joy but there are increased risks when people come together.  The approach to Christmas events is a very difficult decision.


Local testing sites


Mandy Clarkson, Consultant in Public Health, gave an update on the establishment of Local Testing Sites.  She highlighted the following information:


a)  A Mobile Testing Unit is currently located at the Forest Recreation Ground.  It is the second time that the Unit has been placed there and it seems to be a good location.  Additional mobile testing capacity has been requested from the region and its location will be reviewed depending on the latest rates of infection.


b)  There is a desire to develop longer term solutions to ensure good testing coverage.  The focus will be on local, urban communities so that everyone has access even if they don’t have access to a private vehicle. 


c)  The Regional Testing Site is due to be relocated to County Hall.


d)  Four Local Testing Sites are being created on university campuses. They are either operational, or soon will be.


e)  Local Testing Sites will all look slightly different as they will be tailored to suit the specific site.  They can be indoor or outdoor, but as the winter is approaching porta-cabins are being explored as suitable options.


f)  In identifying suitable locations for the sites, a review has been carried out of current access to testing.  Most City residents have been accessing testing at the regional centre at the Motorpoint Arena, as a home test or going to a Mobile Testing Unit.  However, this information doesn’t tell us about those who have been unable to access testing and there is no way of knowing about this.  Other considerations include levels of car ownership, areas with lower access to services, the number of positive cases.  Areas with the highest number of cases and highest rates of positivity will change, but information on patterns is available which is less subject to change.


g)  There are some population groups with particular needs, such as ability to use websites, approach to health needs etc, to take into account.  These population groups include migrant communities, asylum seekers, areas with high levels of population churn, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.  There is also softer intelligence available about particular local communities that need support.


h)  Nine sites have been submitted to the Department for Health and Social Care for provisional approval as sites for a Local Testing Centre.  These areas are Bulwell, Bulwell Forest, Aspley, Bilborough, Hyson Green, Berridge, St Anns, Dales and Clifton East.  Once approval has been given, work will take place to identify suitable sites.  This work will be done in conjunction with the Council’s Property Team.


During subsequent discussion the following points were raised:


i)  Additional testing is welcomed.


j)  There will be a need to work with local communities potentially identified as a site for a testing centre as there may be local concerns.  Community centres are just starting to reopen and consideration needs to be given to the impact on that work.


k)  The testing sites don’t need to be in a building.  They could be porta-cabins in a car park.  There  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.


Exclusion of the public to move into the confidential section of the meeting


The Board agreed to exclude the public to move into the confidential section of the meeting.


Declarations of interests for agenda items 11 - 14


See Confidential Minutes


Confidential minutes

To confirm the minutes of the confidential section of the meeting held on 22 September 2020


See Confidential Minutes


Situational round up


See Confidential Minutes


Situational update - Universities


See Confidential Minutes


Local approach to events


See Confidential Minutes